Magret De Canard...Duck Breast

Map of Aquitaine
There are ducks and there are ducks. The Landes area of South West France has just about the finest foie-gras of duck in France and by concsequence the best breast (magret) and leg (confit). Real eaters of foie gras prefer the duck's liver to that of the goose (although goose liver is more expensive).

These ducks, because they undergo a special way of feeding which I would rather not mention, fortunately or unfortunately someday this method will stop, have a lot of fat. This fat must be treated with respect because when properly collected and kept, renders other foods such as potatoes very tasty.

Magret de canard or breast of duck, as you may have figured, is not any breast of duck. It is very easy and straight forward to cook.
-  First, there are two sides to the magret, the fat side and the meat side.
-  Turn the breast meat side up, and remove any fat.
-  Turn to fat side up and make shallow cuts with a sharp knife. The cut must not reach the meat. Cut in a rhombic fashion.
-  Place on a cold grill or pan on very low heat and watch the fat slowly render. The reason for low temperatures is to prevent the rendered fat from burning. Keep pouring out the rendered fat into a pyrex for future use. Cook for 10 minutes then turn on the other side.
-  Sear the meat side down about 3 minutes to keep juices in.
-  Roast in the same pan fat side down in a preheated oven to 200 degrees C for about 10 minutes. If your pan is not fit for an oven then transfer duck breasts to an oven proof dish which has already been in there since the oven has been lit.
-  Cooking times vary according to the desired degree of donesness.
-  It is usually cooked either medium to well or medium to rare.
-  Turn off oven, transfer duck breasts to an oven proof dish and return into oven to keep warm.
-  Degrease the remaining sauce in the pan by adding 1Tbsp.extra good quality balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp. honey and 1 Tbsp. of Herbes de Provence.  Bring sauce to a boil reduce by one half.
-  Take your duck breasts out of the oven and put back in pan with sauce, glazing the duck on both sides.
-  Slice into ½ inch slices and serve with green string beans defrosted, and cooked in the microwave for 12 minutes by adding a good knob of fresh butter, salt, pepper, 2 tsp. garlic paste and 2 tsp. of dry mint before hand.


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